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During 1991 alone adolescents under the age of eighteen made up 172 percent of all arrests for violent crimes Salts Lindholm Goddard Duncan 1995 Watts Ellis 1993 found that antecedents to drug and alcohol useabuse happens before the adolescent reaches high school So what factors drive adolescents to act out in such delinquent behaviors as skipping school threatening fellow adolescents with guns or other weapons and drug and alcohol use This is a very interesting question that seems to have a lot of research to help in trying to answer it The variety of explanations for such delinquent behaviors as listed above include lack of family structure relational problems with peers environmental influences as well as many more Some researchers have attempted to explore adolescent delinquency with such theories as Coercion Theory and Classic Strain Theory According to Cashwell Vacc 1996 Coercion Theory suggests that the family environment of an adolescent influences their interpersonal style which will then reflect on their selection of peers Agnew Brezina 1997 found Classic Strain Theory to imply that the central goal for adolescents or the population in general in the United States is financial success andor the attainment of middle-class status Even though there are some differences between races in research of adolescent delinquency I will only be focusing on research that pertains to white adolescents I will however highlight some differences between the sexes male and female only and ages of the adolescents In attempts to try and understand factors that lead adolescents to delinquent behavior some researchers have looked at the family structure and functioning Cashwell Vacc 1996 found that the largest direct effect on adolescent delinquency is low family cohesion Family cohesion is the degree to which members are emotionally separate from or involved with the family Burr Day Bahr 1993 This study found that adolescents who live in a cohesive family environment are less likely to
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